This week, I decided it was time to write about the most awe-inspiring festivals that still celebrate many of the gothic subcultures, featuring amazing artistic line-ups, cultural exchanges and some of the best places to shop for gothic items that make each weekend a recurring date in many a goth calendar.
Wave-Gotik-Treffen is an annual world festival for dark music and arts in Leipzig, Germany. More than one hundred fifty acts and artists from various backdrops — Gothic Rock, Electronic Body Music, Industrial, Noise, Darkwave, Neofolk, Neoclassical, Medieval Music, Experimental, Gothic Metal, Deathrock and Punk being examples — perform at various venues throughout the city over four days on Whitsuntide. The festival also features diverse fairs with medieval, gothic and cultural merchandise. With eighteen thousand to twenty thousand conventional attendants, the Wave-Gotik-Treffen is one of the largest events of the Gothic, Cybergoth, Steampunk and Rivethead subcultures worldwide.
Whitby Goth Weekend abbreviated to — WGW or referred to by attendees as Whitby — is a bi-yearly music festival for gothic genres, in Whitby, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, organised by Jo Hampshire. The festival was held yearly until 1997 when it became bi-yearly in April and October. It has grown into one of the world’s most popular gothic music events attracting around one thousand five hundred attendees from across the United Kingdom and beyond. The main event is held in the town’s largest venue, while Whitby Spa Pavilion and the Bizarre Bazaar, Goth Market, is also held there and at Whitby Leisure Centre and the Brunswick Centre.
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Convergence Goth Festival is the annual gothic gathering run by and for members of the alt.gothic and alt.gothic.fashion newsgroup, as well as other related Usenet newsgroups. Started in 1995, it is an opportunity for net.goths and others who normally only interact on the Internet to meet in person. Events at Convergence Goth Festival typically included live musical acts and club nights, bazaars, fashion, art shows, panels, and tours of goth-themed locales in the host city. In recent years, nonetheless, the festival aspects of this event have been stripped away leaving the event transformed into a meetup for old friends from past Convergences to have a get-together.
Started in August 1999 as a joint effort between the promoters of the gothic, industrial and deathrock clubs Absinthe Club and Release the Bats, it has now become an annual three-day event. The event started as a relatively small gothic meetup event of about eighty people from two dance clubs, Absinthe Club and Release the Bats. Since then, it has grown to include more aspects of the gothic subculture. Other dark subcultures represented at the event include Horror Punk, Halloween, Rockabilly, Psychobilly, Black metal, Steampunk, Hearse Societies, Industrial and Electronic Body Music.
The M’era Luna is a festival of gothic, metal and industrial music. It is held annually on the second weekend of every August, in Hildesheim, Germany at Flugplatz Hildesheim-Drispenstedt, a former British Army airbase. The M’era Luna includes camping facilities and has two stages: a large rock festival style structure, erected for the show each year, in a former aircraft hangar. With its twenty thousand to nearly twenty-five thousand regular attendants, the M’era Luna is one of the biggest dark music events in Germany.
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Lumous Gothic Festival is the largest festival dedicated to the gothic subculture in Finland and the northernmost Gothic festival in the world. The four-day event is organised every summer in Tampere in late June or early July. While the primary focus is on music, covering musical genres such as gothic rock, deathrock, industrial, Electronic Body Music and neofolk, other cultural and arts events have also been organised as part of the festival. Lumous Festival consists mainly of club nights organised in bars and clubs in the centre of Tampere and also includes a cruise dubbed Die Dunkle Seereise on the lake Pyhäjärvi.
Finally, the Eccentrik Festival is an annual three-day Gothic and industrial music festival held in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States, and has been spread out between several different venues over the years since 2004. Musical styles typically featured at Eccentrik include deathrock, psychobilly, gothic rock, industrial, post-punk, dark cabaret, steampunk, synthpop and other related genres. The festival is also notable for its party-like atmosphere, the pre-festival meet and greet art show, and a dance floor featuring goth, deathrock, industrial, steampunk and post-punk DJs from around the United States.